Welcome to our 150th post!
I wanted to post something special for this little milestone. Clearly, these stuffed polpettoni by that wonderful foodblogger from Siracusa, Sicily, Veronica (Dolci Armonie), fit the bill.
Many of Veronica’s recipes were from her wonderful grandmother. Naturally, I see the word nonna and I get choked up. But without any further ado, Polpettoni Ripiene by Veronica.
Le Polpettoni Ripiene “Calate nella Salsa”
(Large, stuffed meatballs “lowered into the sauce”)
translated by Leonardo Ciampa
When I cooked them, my husband said, “Whoa! They look like mazzacani!” For those of you who aren’t Sicilian, “mazzacani” are the gigantic boulders that they use to build buildings. Yes, as a matter of fact they are gigantic! When you put them on the plate, they seem like something out of an episode of Man v. Food. But I assure you that they are not heavy at all. In fact, they are very soft; after having eaten one, my husband had seconds.
Ingredients for 6 polpettoni
For the meatball mixture:
500 g lean ground veal
1 egg, organic
100 g freshly-grated Bella Lodi*
4 sliced stale bread, without the crust
c. 10 oz. milk
Freshly-ground black pepper
For the filling:
1 mozzarella fior di latte, cut in little cubes
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
100 g prosciutto, cut in cubes
For the tomato sauce:
500 mL purée of fresh tomatoes
1 TB tomato paste
Extra-virgin olive oil
|* Translator’s note: Bella Lodi is a type of Grana. Naturally you can substitute Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, etc. And if, by chance, you can find a Pecorino Siciliano ... — L. C.|
Prepare the meatball mixture by placing the veal, egg, grated cheese, and stale bread which you have already softened in milk and broken apart. Mix well. Adjust the salt and pepper.
Take a little of the mixture, flatten it like a patty in the palm of your hand. In the center, place 3 cubes of prosciutto, 1 slice of egg, and 1 cube of mozzarella. Close the edges towards the center, forming a ball.
In a large pan, heat some oil, and sauté the onion until blonde. Add the paste and c. 4 oz. water. When the paste is dissolved, add the fresh purée and enough water to fill half the pan. Stir well, bring to a boil, and gently arrange the polpettoni into the sauce, being sure the keep space between them. Cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes until the sauce cooks down.
Serve the polpettoni hot, accompanied by the sauce and lots of good bread. Buon appetito!
Translator's Note II: This dish goes very well with beautiful Sicilian folk music! Enjoy!